Toronto stocks set to kick off week on firm note

Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:13am EST
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TORONTO Feb 25 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was seen opening the week on a positive note on Monday, supported by firm commodity prices and talk of a rescue plan for a stumbling U.S. bond insurer.

The index has climbed steadily the last couple weeks and is up 3.3 percent so far in February in large part due to record-setting gold and oil prices.

Early on Monday, spot gold was firm while U.S. crude oil hovered around the $99 a barrel mark partly because of instability in the Middle East.

Base metals were mostly flat while natural gas futures, a key compass for TSX-listed energy firms, pointed higher.

"The long-term supply and demand fundamentals continue to be very good for oil and for the base metals, especially gold," said Glenn MacNeill, vice-president of investments at Sentry Select Capital Corp.

"We see the two big winners in the natural resource sector to be gold and natural gas, in that order."

U.S. stock futures were also up on optimism that banks were formulating a bail-out plan for Ambac Financial Group Inc ABK.N.

After markets closed on Friday, Enbridge Inc ENB.TO was given the go-ahead for the Canadian portion of its C$3-billion Alberta Clipper pipeline, and lumber-producer Canfor Corp CFP.TO posted a fourth-quarter loss. See: [nN22244849] and [nN22606606]

Earlier on Monday, Silver Wheaton SLW.TO said its quarterly profit edged higher, while Denison Mines Corp DML.TO pegged capital costs for its Midwest uranium joint venture at C$435 million. See: [nN25214084] and [nWNA3160]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 13,585.93 after rising 76.38 points, or 0.6 percent, in the previous session. It finished the holiday-shortened week 2.7 percent higher.

($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Scott Anderson)